DC Animated Universe

"Tabula Rasa" is the twenty-ninth and thirtieth episodes of Justice League. While dying, Lex Luthor seeks medical help from a former employee but finds an android which may be able to destroy the Justice League.


Part I[]

Luthor weakened

Lex Luthor weakened.

During a fight with the Justice League, Lex Luthor's power suit is damaged by Superman, and Hawkgirl and he causes a shipwreck in order to escape from the League. Desperate, Luthor flees to LexCorp and begs his former assistant Mercy Graves, now the company's CEO, for help. Mercy, however, shows no pity whatsoever for Luthor until he menacingly threatens her into telling him the whereabouts of his old employee Professor Ivo. Shortly afterwards, Batman and Superman pay Mercy a visit and order her to inform them if Luthor contacts her.

Luthor and Amazo

Luthor is Amazo's new "father".

Luthor staggers to Ivo's house, but recoils upon only finding Ivo's corpse, muttering that his cigarette habit "must have finally got him". Ivo is still guarded by a nanotech android called Amazo who does not kill Luthor, but shows concern over Ivo's health. Luthor takes advantage of Amazo's naiveté by appointing himself as Amazo's new "father". Luthor then instructs Amazo to steal some fuel canisters from a nearby facility. During the mission, Amazo runs into Hawkgirl and uses his nanotech abilities to duplicate her wings and mace, taking her down easily. Amazo returns to Luthor with the fuel, and Luthor tells Amazo a lie about how the League are his evil enemies and must be crushed. Amazo vows to destroy the League and protect Luthor at all costs.

Amazo League Powers

Amazo now has the powers of five Justice League members.

In an attempt to use his telepathy to track Luthor down, J'onn J'onzz scans all of Metropolis at once and is overwhelmed by the selfishness and duplicity he finds in humanity. Distraught, J'onn retreats to the woods outside the city to try to regain his focus, destroying his communicator when Superman contacts him. Amazo enters the city and begins fighting Hawkgirl along with Green Lantern, Flash and Wonder Woman. Amazo replicates Flash's speed, Wonder Woman's strength, and Lantern's power ring merely by looking at them. Despite Lantern's insistence that he does not enter the fray, Superman intervenes and briefly covers Amazo's eyes with scrap metal to prevent the android from stealing his powers. However, Amazo quickly disposes of his makeshift blindfold and successfully gets an eyeful of Superman, copying his abilities. Now invincible with the combined abilities of five Leaguers, the android advances on the Man of Steel.

Part II[]

Amazo slight defeat

Batman temporarily defeats Amazo.

Despite the android's superior abilities, Superman continues the fight against Amazo until Batman intervenes. Amazo scoffs at Batman having no superpowers for the android to replicate. Then the Dark Knight pulls out a piece of Kryptonite that surprises and weakens Amazo. Batman deduced that he has gained the Leaguers' strengths, but also their weaknesses. Defeated for the first time, a confused Amazo flees into the sewers and heads back to Ivo's home.

Amazo Mercy

Amazo pleased to meet Mercy.

Meanwhile, Mercy pays Luthor a visit at Ivo's house and warns him of the Justice League closing in on him. Luthor and Mercy flee to an abandoned garage somewhere outside Metropolis, where Amazo eventually manages to find them. Amazo, however, begins to question Luthor's motives and why he wants the League gone. Luthor plays the ill, innocent fool and tricks Amazo once again. After the android departs once again to do Luthor's bidding, Mercy warns Luthor about conning such a powerful creature. Luthor blows off her concerns and reveals to Mercy that should Amazo learn the truth and turn against him, he has a triumph card: A detonator for a bomb implanted inside Amazo's head.

J'onn, still pondering the reason he defends humanity when they are so selfish and dishonest, runs across a group of people searching for a missing girl. Scanning their minds, he finds that many of them do not even know the child or her family, but are searching for her anyway out of a sense of empathy and community. Inspired by their nobility, J'onn locates the girl telepathically and brings her to the search party, to their genuine gratitude. Wonder Woman finds J'onn and updates him on the situation.

Amazo leaves

Amazo leaves Earth.

Amazo locates the League and battles them once again, even overcoming and pulverizing Batman's Kryptonite after having evolved and adapted to the attack. In his repaired battlesuit, Luthor joins the fight. Luthor and Amazo take down the entire League until J'onn arrives. Using a different approach, J'onn does not engage in battle, choosing to stand still and voluntarily allow Amazo to look at him and gain all of his abilities. J'onn then encourages Amazo to use his newfound telepathy, prompting the android to read Luthor's mind and thus, discover Luthor's dishonesty. Luthor activates the detonator and blows Amazo's head off, but Amazo uses J'onn's shapeshifting ability to regrow it. The scorned android tears into Luthor, reducing his armor to scrap and preparing to kill him. Luthor begs for mercy at the last moment, and Amazo, observing Luthor and the League, decides the Earth has nothing left to offer him anymore. Amazo turns his eyes to the stars, evolves into a gold version of himself, and flies off to explore the universe. Luthor is returned to prison.

The following day at LexCorp, Mercy receives an angry call from Luthor, demanding the best lawyers and doctors. Mercy has finally had enough and hangs up on Luthor in mid-rant.


Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production inconsistencies[]

  • As Batman lands on the rooftop beside Amazo, some of the rubble created by Amazo's impact is hovering in mid-air.
  • When Wonder Woman finds J'onn J'onzz in the woods and hugs him, J'onn's belt buckle has vanished.



Michael Rosenbaum's lookalike.

  • While searching for Lex Luthor, Amazo comes across a bald man talking on a phone who resembles (and is voiced by) Michael Rosenbaum (the actor that played Lex on Smallville).
  • The episode's name is based on the epistemological idea that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that therefore all knowledge comes from experience or perception.
    • "Tabula rasa" is a Latin phrase often translated as "blank slate" in English and originates from the Roman tabula or wax tablet used for notes, which was blanked by heating the wax and then smoothing it.[1]
    • In the comic version, the android is actually called Amazo and has a different appearance. The contrast emphasizes the concept of "tabula rasa" in the character design of the animated version, where its appearance is totally rational and functional, in terms of design, with a simple and minimalist aesthetic. The innocence of the android is later corrupted by Lex's reasons, reinforcing the concept of Tabula Rasa.
  • J'onn's mental breakdown is similar to a concept used in the comics miniseries Kingdom Come, taking place several years in the future, after the Justice League has disbanded. J'onn appears briefly in his "John Jones" guise, having suffered a near-complete breakdown after trying to open his mind to everyone on Earth.
  • Though the League finds Ivo's blueprints labeled "Amazo", it was never revealed what these letters stood for in DCAU continuity. In the comics, the name "Amazo" was not an acronym.
  • As an in-joke J'onn telling Superman "He (Luthor) must be stopped", is a reference to an unpopular quote spoken by the latter in the first season episode "The Enemy Below", where he said "Orm must be stopped".


Actor Role
Clancy Brown Lex Luthor
Maria Canals Hawkgirl
Blond girl (uncredited)
Search party (uncredited)
Kevin Conroy Batman
Ashley Edner Jennifer
Lisa Edelstein Mercy Graves
Redhead (uncredited)
Susan Eisenberg Wonder Woman
Tom Kenny Search Leader
Search party (uncredited)
Masasa Moyo Beautiful woman
Phil LaMarr Green Lantern
Search party (uncredited)
Carl Lumbly J'onn J'onzz
George Newbern Superman
Search party (uncredited)
Robert Picardo Amazo
Balding man (uncredited)
Search party (uncredited)
Michael Rosenbaum Flash
Bald Man (uncredited)


Luthor: Help me. I'm...
Mercy: Sick? Dying? And you couldn't do it somewhere else?

Hawkgirl: You always carry Kryptonite around with you?
Batman: Call it "insurance".
Hawkgirl: And they say I'm scary.

Luthor: Looks like the cigarettes finally got you. And maybe me too.